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  • Woody’s Windows Watch: Phantom features and the Win10 treadmill

    Home Forums AskWoody blog Woody’s Windows Watch: Phantom features and the Win10 treadmill

    This topic contains 15 replies, has 12 voices, and was last updated by  bbearren 8 months, 1 week ago.

    • Author
    • #320513 Reply

      Da Boss

      So I get it. Microsoft version of “as a service” means we get to slog through brand new versions of Win10 every six months. I know the downside. First
      [See the full post at: Woody’s Windows Watch: Phantom features and the Win10 treadmill]

      4 users thanked author for this post.
    • #320756 Reply

      AskWoody Plus

      I think you’re selling each of these versions short:


      What’s new in Win10 Version 1809

      And there’s a bunch of unremarkable cosmetic changes”

      A total of about 154 improvements; some of which are merely cosmetic, but most are not:

      What’s New In Windows 10 October 2018 Update Version 1809


      The new features in Win10 Version 1803

      And there’s another bunch of yawn-inducing features.”

      A total of about 265 improvements; some of which are rather boring, but most are not:

      What’s New in Windows 10 April 2018 Update RS4


      What we expect in Win10 version 1903

      But what we know so far isn’t exactly breathtaking.”

      About 70 improvements so far, mostly useful:

      What’s new in the Windows 10 Insider preview builds (19H1)

      Everything New in Windows 10’s April 2019 Update


      The Timeline feature keeps track of where you’ve gone on the Web, which Office documents you work on, what you’ve accessed through File Explorer, and … not much more. Timeline lets you flip back to a previous state rather easily. But I don’t use it, and I don’t know anybody who does — primarily because there are (surprise, surprise) few non-Microsoft products that hook into it.

      I use Timeline a few times each day. Most tech publications have declared it to be a useful tool, especially since it can now include Chrome and Firefox browsing. How do you know how many programs hook into it if you don’t use it?


      And if you’re going to say, “Take a look at the new feature lists and ask yourself if the gain is worth the pain.” you could at least provide lists or links to look at!

      Knuckle dragger Cannon fodder Chump Daft glutton Idiot Crazy/Ignorant Toxic drinker Blockhead Unwashed mass Seeker/Sucker "Ancient/Obsolete" (Group ASAP) Win10 v.1909

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      • #320945 Reply

        Da Boss

        Thanks for adding to the lists. Personally, I rely on Preston Gralla’s feature reports in Computerworld, but you’re right, I should’ve included links for folks who are genuinely interested in hundreds of improvements.

        I’m surprised you use Timelines. Can’t say that I know anybody else who does. Browser history, yes, but Timelines not at all.

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        • #321265 Reply

          AskWoody Plus

          Personally, I rely on Preston Gralla’s feature reports in Computerworld,

          Preston Gralla says, about version 1809;

          “I found the Clipboard to be this update’s hidden gem, a seemingly small feature that can improve your productivity more than you might imagine. … I’ve used various third-party software to power up the Windows Clipboard over the years and have abandoned each one after a while because they tend to be either too complex or not useful enough. The new Clipboard balances intuitive ease of use and feature richness quite nicely. I’ll keep turning to it frequently,”

          “I found Snip & Sketch … a nice upgrade to the existing Windows screen capture tool. … it’s something I’ll certainly use.”

          Review: Windows 10 October 2018 Update delivers modest but useful tweaks

          He seems to be more of a glass-half-full guy.

          Knuckle dragger Cannon fodder Chump Daft glutton Idiot Crazy/Ignorant Toxic drinker Blockhead Unwashed mass Seeker/Sucker "Ancient/Obsolete" (Group ASAP) Win10 v.1909

          1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #320957 Reply

        AskWoody Plus

        I agree with this.

        Woody, you’ve left out a lot of good, strong technical details that your audience -will- care about, in favour of UI fripperies you know your audience -won’t- care about.  It’s disingenuous, borderlining on dishonest, and you’re capable of doing better than that.

        Like, seriously, man…. Windows 10 (and Server 2019) now comes with an SSH server & client, which is genuinely a good thing.  The only reason PuTTY is popular today is because Windows didn’t have this capability 15 years ago.  In the 2020s, we’ll be able to SSH to our Windows servers instead of wasting time and resources connecting to them with RDP.

        Going along with that, you have UNIX line-ending support in Notepad (addressing one of the top reasons web devs installed EditPlus and Notepad++ over the years), and a console that finally knows how to render line-based content properly.  That makes WSL posible, of course, but it also means that we get much saner text selection mechanics in a console window.  Resizing the console (and its contents) with Ctrl+Scroll is coming with 19H1 — quick, useful solution for people who find text on 4K laptops to be too small.

        Please don’t ignore the good stuff.

        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #321384 Reply

        AskWoody MVP

        My Toshiba Satellite laptop, back in 2011, came with something called “Reel Time” which is a graphical history/indexing tool that enabled viewing of recently accessed files and programs. It was designed to simplify searching by automatically tracking and indexing the documents and programs you open. It groups them and presents them as visual thumbnails so you can flick through and find what you’re looking for. You could easily customize it by grouping photos, files, clips by type, purpose, or by program (and I don’t remember programs that were excluded), using drag and drop. It worked easily and smoothly… but I ended up not using it, pretty, intuitive, and easy to use as it was.

        W10 Timeline sounds similar, but fewer programs, and adding your on-line work (Cloud), not just the browser?

        The only W10 I get my hands on these days is used solely for gaming. It isn’t mine, just in the family… and the intense focus on Fortnite’ by the owner makes testing Timeline not particularly useful. It does sound like they are trying to combine Toshiba’s Reel Time with what we’ve previously accessed through back ups, while including the Microsoft Cloud apps…?

        @b- what is it that you find yourself actually using it for?

        Win 7 Home, 64 bit, Group B

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        • #321593 Reply

          rc primak

          Unfortunately, the Toshiba Reel Time feature was loaded with spyware. They were tracking users with that tool. And Microsoft most likely will be doing the same with their Timeline. I cleanse it thoroughly daily.  Google, Facebook and other tech companies have very similar timelines, which they all use to collect and sell user data to advertisers and (reportedly) hackers. (Facebook says this happened by mistake, but how many “mistakes” can we allow before suspecting something more systemic?)

          If I want to go back to somewhere I was awhile ago, I create browser bookmarks, then erase all History items. If the bookmarks get to be overcrowded, I export them as HTML and move them to a backup location. Then if I wonder “What was that web site I visited in October, 2016?” I pull out the Bookmarks backup from that period, import it, find and go to the link (if it’s still valid) and when finished, delete that entire folder from my current bookmarks.  (See today’s AskWoody Plus Newsletter for a freeware product which will help us organize and weed out bookmarks.)

          I also keep running notes of my computer use as text files, and make special notes of anything I want to save as a “Tip or Trick” for later use. Those notes also go into a special folder and get moved to a backup location.

          So I have no use for a Timeline, Reel Time or anything else which only serves to provide more breadcrumbs for snoops to follow to try to serve me with targeted ads or to collect enough info to impersonate me.

          -- rc primak

    • #320795 Reply

      AskWoody Plus

      I agree.  MS stop the madness!

      Fix the multitude of fundamental problems before adding dubious features.  Until you get many months of updates that don’t crash systems and or break things that used to work; why would anyone needing or wanting a stable OS leave Windows-7 and take a chance/gamble on Windows-10?  The original decision to make WIndows-10 a “one size fits all” OS was a huge mistake.  It is intuitively obvious that the wants of the gaming and mobile users are very different from basic business and serious consumer needs.  The “one size fits all” philosophy has never worked in any setting and never will work in any setting.  It’s that simple.

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    • #321007 Reply

      AskWoody Plus

      Actually the gimmickry pointed out by Woody is not just being showered on us by MS, but it is happening across the board these days, at least when it comes to commercial application software. And is not a very new trend, either. It is as if those in the business, years ago, run out completely out of really new and practical ideas, and started to replace them with frippery and flummery-compliant shiny and colorful gimmicks meant to separate us, supposedly “the rubes”, from our cash to sustain a never ending cascade of profit. Except that, in the end, that means we all end up with less functionality and a great deal more bloat, and a definite tendency to switch over to non-commercial software (or at least to the software from less commercially inclined sources).

      It is a worry, though, when those in charge of something like Mozilla’s FireFox seem to want to go the way of bling and bloat as well.

      Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group B & macOS + Linux (Mint) => Win7 Group W(?) + Mac&Lx

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    • #321119 Reply

      Mr. Natural
      AskWoody Plus

      The problem with releasing a new version every six months then retiring and dropping support for older versions is you never have a stable OS. As long as Microsoft continues down this path there will always be issues and you’ll never have the stability we used to get when service packs were distributed WITHOUT newly added features which constantly present new problems.

      I remember back in the olden days when Microsoft used to at least appear to cater to the corporate world. Last year this time we had a bunch of different versions of Windows 10. Last Spring I realized this is crazy and decided to standardize things. Everyone running Windows 10 in our organization is set on 1803. Sometime late this year it will be time to decide which version to move EVERYONE to.

      I’m not subjecting office personnel to a version upgrade every six months. That’s crazy and creates more work and headaches for I.S. personnel as well.

      Red Ruffnsore reporting from the front lines.

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    • #321173 Reply

      Carl D
      AskWoody Lounger

      Here’s one of the problems with 6 month Windows 10 releases:

      Gigabyte have just released new Windows 10 version 1809 chipset, etc. motherboard drivers in the past week for my GA-B250M-D3H motherboard which I bought in April 2017.

      The 1803 drivers seemed to be OK (I’ve noticed shutdown is a little faster with the 1809 drivers) but it is getting to the point where by the time new drivers are released for the latest Windows 10 version it is almost time for another new Windows 10 release.

      I’m guessing this situation will gradually get worse the older the motherboard gets as they concentrate on getting updated drivers out for the latest boards first.

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      • #321182 Reply

        Mr. Natural
        AskWoody Plus

        There have always been driver issues with every new release of Windows. Going back from Windows 95 until now with these 6 month releases.

        Red Ruffnsore reporting from the front lines.

    • #321175 Reply

      AskWoody MVP

      Here’s a more complete list of what is coming in 19H1 – Windows 10 19H1: The complete changelog.

      If you are in a business you should analyze your situation and take advantage of the tools available in Windows 10 to upgrade on a time frame which fits your organization better. Many if not most home users can be comfortable with the every 6 month cadence.

      Every major release of Windows going back to 1.0 has been decried in various support forums and sometimes in the technical press. Complaints have been very public. Generally, the same as you see about Win10. “It is unstable” “It will never work in my situation” “It is terrible for gaming” “It does not support my 10+ year old hardware or software” etc. , etc. Then things get less problematic as time goes by. XP was terrible when released and better than sliced bread at its demise. Vista was OK to good after a service pack and OEMs caught up with drivers. Win7 was good after SP1 and now is the best OS ever. Win8 was never OK to many but was actually solid for many. Win8.1 was no good because it still had the horrible start menu but ended up usable and OK.

      I’ve said this before and will again – in tech forums you almost always see problems which can lead to a jaded view of a product, We really have no idea of the breadth or depth of problems in Win10 or any other OS. Microsoft does not disclose this sort of information. I do realize that in numerical terms even a small percentage of a base of somewhere between 500 million and 1.5 billion is a big number. Microsoft absolutely needs to change and upgrade the way it supports Windows. But, we in the public have no reliable method of determining if Windows 10 is more or less stable than any other release and whether the six month cadence is causing more problems than the roughly three year release process.

      Personally, I would like to see the Windows team be more like the Office 365 team. I would like them to release features on a monthly basis as they are ready particularly if the install process is faster and easier than it is now. A reboot is not so bad. Significant changes to Windows internals should be on a less frequent either semi-annual or annual basis.


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    • #321606 Reply

      rc primak

      The clipboard and snipping tool improvements have me looking forward to Windows 10 Version 1809. Also, some of the Windows Defender and other security improvements. I will definitely consider dumping my old friend Avira Free antivirus, but I will continue to run Malwarebytes Free and maybe add AdwCleaner to my arsenal, simply because WD does not treat PUP and adware with the same disdain I do.

      My upgrade will probably take place before April, 2019, maybe mid-March if nothing further comes along to scream Hold Off. As Woody himself has noted recently, the patching process is finally getting some of the testing and vetting it has sorely lacked up to now in Windows 10.

      All this said, I still run and prefer Ubuntu Linux. Even after some glaring missteps by Canonical with the Ubuntu 18.04 Gnome and Wayland rollout. I’m still fixing some of the problems with the Gnome Shell Extensions and the DNS Name Resolver which that transition caused. Fedora Linux, which I also run, has had some issues related to their six-months upgrade cycle, but not to the extent we see in Windows 10 at this site every week.

      -- rc primak

    • #322920 Reply

      AskWoody Plus

      Hi Woody,
      Guess I should have followed your recommendation and waited. Windows update 1809 was installed on my HP Laptop yesterday. Everything seemed fine until I got a warning my Malwarebytes Antivirus needed to be restarted. When I tried I was unable to open the program. Did a search on the internet and found I was not the only one having this problem. I looked for the .exe file and found it and the folder it was in were both gone. I spend a couple hours this morning removing what was left of Malwarebytes on my machine and reinstalled the program. Thank you Microsoft.

      MVP Edit: HTML removal – Please use the ‘Text’ tab in the post entry box when you copy/paste

    • #322949 Reply

      AskWoody MVP

      Back in the late ’90’s when drive imaging was pretty much limited to 3.5″ floppies or CD’s, I didn’t like having to image my entire hard drive; it took too long, but I didn’t want to not do it.  I decided then that it was not at all necessary to leave my PC setup according to Microsoft and Windows.  I could do it my own way.

      I started partitioning my hard drive, and separating the different parts of Windows into partitions/logical drives.  Over the years I kept refining my scheme into data that I wanted to image frequently and stuff that didn’t change much, and an old image of that stuff was actually still an up-to-date image.

      As a result of some twenty years of refining this filing system, Windows OS is confined to a 60GB partition, programs are in a 100GB partition, and Users are in a 60GB partition.  Programs and Users are not even on the same HDD as Windows.  The old IDE system was slow, but it had no problem reading from two hard drives at the same time, making the system more responsive.

      All of my downloaded installation executable files are on still another partition.  When one of my programs or utilities issues an update, I save it to my files partition first, then do the update from there.  If one of them gets pooched for whatever reason, I can reinstall it just by double-clicking that executable.

      1809, even the initial buggy release, didn’t pooch anything for me,  because the stuff that it was pooching for everyone else was not in the same places on my system.  After reading about the problems other folks were having, I created a test file and saved it, but then I couldn’t find it.  So I restored my drive image of 1803 and waited for Microsoft to sort things out.

      The second release of 1809 has proven to be quite stable and quick.  By setting my systems up for failure recovery in the first place, recovery from failure is pretty quick and painless.  My drive/partition imaging is done at night by Task Scheduler, and I can restore my Windows OS in about 6 minutes.  My programs would take longer, but Windows is only looking at C: drive during an update/upgrade.  Other drives/partitions are pretty much out of harm’s way.

      Create a fresh drive image before making system changes, in case you need to start over!
      "The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem. Savvy?"—Captain Jack Sparrow
      "When you're troubleshooting, start with the simple and proceed to the complex."—M.O. Johns

      "Experience is what you get when you're looking for something else."—Sir Thomas Robert Deware

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    Reply To: Woody’s Windows Watch: Phantom features and the Win10 treadmill

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